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Considerations on the Policy of Communicating the knowledge of Christianity
to the Natives in India. By a late Resident in Bengal. London: Hatchard,
1807, An Address to the Chairman of the East India Company, occasioned by Mr.
Twining's Letter to that Gentleman. By the Rev. JOHN OWEN. London:
Hatchard. A Letter to the Chairman of the East India Company, on the Danger of Inter
fering in the Religious Opinions of the Natives of India. By THOMAS
TWINING. London : Ridgeway. Vindication of the Hindoos. By a Bengal Officer. London : Rodwell. Letter to John Scott Waring. London : Hatchard. Cunningham's Christianity in India. London: Hatchard. Answer to Major Scott Waring. Extracted from the “Christian Observer.” Observations on the Present State of the East India Company. By Major Scott
WARING. Ridgeway, London. AT T two o'clock in the morning, July the roth, 1806, the European bar
racks at Vellore, containing then four complete companies of the 69th Regiment, were surrounded by two battalions of Sepoys in the Company's service, who poured in a heavy fire of musketry at every door and window upon the soldiers : at the same time the European sentries, the soldiers at the main-guard, and the sick in the hospital were put to death ; the officers' houses were ransacked, and everybody found in them murdered. Upon the arrival of the 19th Light Dragoons, under Colonel Gillespie, the Sepoys were immediately attacked; 600 cut down upon the spot, and 200 taken from their hiding-places and shot. There perished of the four European companies about 164, besides officers ; and many British officers of the native troops were murdered by the insurgents.
Subsequent to this explosion, there was a mutiny at Nundydroog; and in one day 450 Mahomedan Sepoys were disarmed and turned out of the fort, on the ground of an intended massacre. It appeared, also, from the information of the commanding officer at Tritchinopoly, that at that period a spirit of disaffection had manifested itself at Bangalore and other places, and seemed to gain ground in every direction. On the 3rd of December, 1806, the Government of Madras issued the following proclamation :
SA PROCLAMATION. “ The Right Hon. the Governor in Council having observed that in some late instances an extraordinary degree of agitation has prevailed among several corps of the native army of this coast, it has been his Lordship’s particular endeavour to ascertain the motives which may have led to conduct so different from that which formerly distinguished the native army. From this inquiry it has appeared that many persons of evil intention have endeavoured, for malicious purposes, to impress upon the native troops a belief that it is the wish of the British Government to convert them by forcible means to Christianity; and his Lordship in Council has observed with concern that such malicious reports have been believed by many of the native troops.
“The Right Hon. the Governor in Council, therefore, deems it proper in this public manner to repeat to the native troops his assurance that the same respect which has been invariably shown by the British Government for their religion and for their custoins will be always continued, and that no interruption will be given to any native, whether Hindoo or Mussulman, in the practice of his religious ceremonies.
“His Lordship in Council desires that the native troops will not give belief to the idle rumours which are circulated by enemies of their happiness, who endeavour, with the basest designs, to weaken the confidence of the troops in the British Government. His Lordship in Council desires that the native troops will remember the constant attention and humanity which have been shown by the British Government in providing for their comfort, by augmenting the pay of the native officers and Sepoys, by allowing liberal pensions to those who have done their duty faithfully, by making ample provision for the families of those who may have died in battle, and by receiving their children into the service of the Honourable Company, to be treated with the same care and bounty as their father had experienced.
“The Right Hon. the Governor in Council trusts that the native troops, remembering these circumstances, will be sensible of the happiness of their situation, which is greater than what the troops of any other part of the world enjoy, and that they will continue to observe the same good conduct for which they were distinguished in the days of General Lawrence, of Sir Eyre Coote, and of other renowned heroes.
“ The native troops must at the same time be sensible that, if they should fail in the duties of their allegiance, and should show themselves disobedient to their officers, their conduct will not fail to receive merited punishment, as the British Government is not less prepared to punish the guilty than to protect and distinguish those who are deserving of its favour.
“ It is directed that this paper be translated with care into the Tamul, Telinga, and Hindoostany languages, and that copies of it be circulated to each native battalion, of which the European officers are enjoined and ordered to be careful in making it known to every native officer and Sepoy under his command.
“It is also directed that copies of the paper be circulated to all the magistrates and collectors under this government for the purpose of being fully understood in all parts of the country. “Published by order of the Right Hon. the Governor in Council.
“G. BUCHAN, Chief Secretary to Government. “ Dated in Fort St. George, 3rd Dec., 1806."
Scott Waring's Preface, iii.-V. So late as March, 1807, three months after the date of this proclamation, so universal was the dread of a general revolt among the native troops, that the British officers attached to the native troops constantly slept with loaded pistols under their pillows. It appears that an attempt had been made by the military men at Madras to change the shape of the Sepoy turban into something resembling the helmet of the light infantry of Europe, and to prevent the native troops from wearing on their foreheads the marks characteristic of their various castes. The sons of the late Tippoo, with many noble Mussulmans deprived of office at that time, resided in the fortress of Vellore, and in all probability contributed very materially to excite or to infiame those suspicions of designs against their religion which are mentioned in the proclamation of the Madras Government, and generally known to have been a principal cause of the insurrection at Vellore. It was this insurrection which first gave birth to the question upon missions to India ; and before we deliver any opinion upon the subject itself, it will be necessary to state what had been done in former periods towards disseminating the truths of the gospel in India, and what new exertions had been made about the period at which this event took place.
More than a century has elapsed since the first Protestant missionaries appeared in India. Two young divines, selected by the University of Halle, were sent out in this capacity by the King of Denmark, and arrived at the Danish settlement of Tranquebar in 1706. The mission thus begun, has been ever since continued, and has been assisted by the Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge established in this country.
The same society has for many years employed German missionaries, of the Lutheran persuasion, for propagating the doctrines of Christianity among the natives of India. In 1799 their number was six ; it is now reduced to five.
The Scriptures translated into the Tamulic language, which is vernacular in the southern parts of the peninsula, have for more than half a century been printed at the Tranquebar press for the use of Danish missionaries and their converts. A printing-press, indeed, was established at that place by the two first Danish missionaries ; and in 1714 the Gospel of St. Matthew, translated into the dialect of Malabar, was printed there. Not a line of the Scriptures, in any of the languages current on the coast, had issued from the Bengal press on September
It does appear, however, about the period of the mutiny at Vellore, and a few years previous to it, that the number of the missionaries on the coast had been increased. In 1804, the Missionary Society, a recent institution, sent a new mission to the coast of Coromandel, from whose papers we think it right to lay before our readers the following extracts
“March 31st, 1805:—Waited on A. B. He says Government seems to be very willing to forward our views. We may stay at Madras as long as we
* There are six societies in England for converting Heathens to the Christian religion. 1. Society for Missions to Africa and the East, of which Messrs. Wilberforce, Grant, Parry, and Thorntons are the principal encouragers; 2. Methodist Society for Missions ; 3. Anabaptist Society for Missions; 4. Missionary Society ; 5. Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge ; 6. Moravian Missions. They all publish their proceedings.
please; and when we intend to go into the country, on our application to the governor by letter, he would issue orders for granting us passports, which would supersede the necessity of a public petition.—Lord's Day.”-- Trans. of Miss. Society, II., p. 369.
In a letter from Brother Ringletaube to Brother Cran, he thus expresses himself :
“The passports Government has promised you are so valuable, that I should not think a journey too troublesome to obtain one for myself, if I could not get it through your interference. In hopes that your application will suffice to obtain one for me, I enclose you my Gravesend passport, that will give you the particulars concerning my person.”-- Trans. of Miss. Society, II., p. 369.
They obtain their passports from Government, and the plan and objects of their mission are printed, free of expense, at the Government press.
“ 1805. June 27.—Dr. sent for one of us to consult with him on particular business. He accordingly went. The Doctor told him that he had read the publications which the brethren lately brought from England, and was so much delighted with the report of the Directors that he wished 200 or more copies of it were printed, together with an introduction, giving an account of the rise and progress of the Missionary Society, in order to be distributed in the different settlements in India. He offered to print them at the Government press free of expense. On his return we consulted with our two brethren on the subject, and resolved to accept the Doctor's favour. We have begun to prepare it for the press.”—Trans. of Miss. Society, II., p. 394.
In page 89 of the 18th Number, Vol. III., the Missionaries write thus to the Society of London, about a fortnight before the massacre at Vellore :
“Every encouragement is offered us by the established government of the country. Hitherto they have granted us every request, whether solicited by ourselves or others. Their permission to come to this place, their allowing us an acknowledgment for preaching in the fort, which sanctions us in our work, together with the grant which they have lately given us to hold a large spot of ground every way suited for missionary labours, are objects of the last importance, and remove every impediment which might be apprehended from this source. We trust not to an arm of flesh ; but when we reflect on these things, we cannot but behold the loving-kindness of the Lord.”
In a letter of the same date we learn from Brother Ringletaube the following fact:
“The Dewan of Travancore sent me word that if I despatched one of our Christians to him he would give me leave to build a church at Magilandy. Accordingly, I shall send in a short time. For this important service our Society is indebted alone to Colonel-, without whose determined and fearless interposition none of their missionaries would have been able to set a foot in that country.”
In page 381, Vol. II., Dr. Kerr, one of the chaplains on the Madras establishment, baptizes á Mussulman who had applied to him for that purpose. Upon the first application it appears that Dr. Kerr hesitated; but upon the Mussulman threatening to rise against him on the day of judgment, Dr. Kerr complies.
It appears that in the Tinevelly district, about a year before the massacre of Vellore, not only riots, but very serious persecutions of the converted natives had taken place, from the jealousy evinced by the Hindoos and Mussulmans at the progress of the gospel.
“'Rev. Sir, -I thought you sufficiently acquainted with the late vexations of the Christians in those parts, arising from the blind zeal of the Heathens and Mahometans, the latter viewing with a jealous eye the progress of the gospel, and trying to destroy, or at least to clog it, by all the crafty means in their power. I therefore did not choose to trouble you ; but as no stop has been
; put to those grievances, things go on from bad to worse, as you will see from what has happened at Hickadoe. The Catechist has providentially escaped from that outrageous attempt by the assistance of ten or twelve of our Christians, and has made good his flight to Palamcotta, whilst the exasperated mob, coming from Padeckepalloe, hovered round the village, plundering the houses of the Christians, and ill-treating their families, by kicking, flogging, and other bad usage; these monsters not even forbearing to attack, strip, rob, and miserably beat the Catechist Jesuadian, who, partly from illness and partly through fear, had shut himself up in his house. I have heard various accounts of this sad event; but yesterday the Catechist himself called on me, and told me the truth of it. From what he says, it is plain that the Manikar of Wayrom (a black peace-officer of that place) has contrived the whole affair, with a view to vex the Christians. I doubt not that these facts have been reported to the Rev. Mr. K. by the country priest, and if I mention them to you, it is with a view to show in what a forlorn state the poor Christians hereabout are, and how desirable a thing it would be, if the Rev. Mr. Ringletaube were to come hither as soon as possible; then tranquillity would be restored, and future molestations prevented. I request you to communicate this letter to him with my compliments. I am, Sír, &c. Manapaar,
, Fune, 8, 1805.'
“This letter left a deep impression on my mind, especially when I received a fuller account of the troubles of the Christians. By the Black underlings of the collectors they are frequently driven from their homes, put in the stocks, and exposed for a fortnight together to the heat of the raging sun, and the chilling dews of the night, all because there is no European Missionary to bring their complaints to the ear of Government, who, I am happy to add, have never been deficient in their duty of procuring redress, where the Christians have had to complain of real injuries. One of the most trying cases, mentioned in a postscript of the above letter, is that of Christians being flogged till they consent to hold the torches to the Heathen Idols. The letter says, “The Catechist of Collesigrapatuam has informed me that the above Manikar has forced a Christian, of the Villally caste, who attends at our church, to sweep the temple of the Idol. A severe flogging was given on this occasion.'—From such facts the postscript continues, You may guess at the deplorable situation of our fellow-believers, as longs as every Manikar thinks he has a right to do them what violence he pleases.'
“It must be observed, to the glory of that Saviour who is strong in weakness, that many of the Neophytes in that district have withstood all these fiery trials with firmness. Many also, it is to be lamented, have fallen off in the evil day, and at least so far yielded to the importunity of their persecutors